Summer is officially here, and that means taking advantage of longer, sunnier days. Everyone knows I’m a city girl at heart, but perhaps the loveliest virtue of my beloved hometown is all of the beauty that lies just beyond its borders. Nothing beats a spontaneous beach day or drive up the coast to kick back and soak up some Vitamin D (underneath a thick layer of SPF 60 in my case). Here are my favorite day trips outside the Bay Area, from childhood favorites to newly discovered gems.
Half Moon Bay is home to even more glorious beaches just South of San Francisco. Hit the waves early and then drive a bit further down 1 to Pescadero. You can sample the freshest, creamiest chevre at the Harley Farms Goat Dairy, and supplement it with some heavenly artichoke bread from Arcangeli Grocery. And if you’re too blissed out to head home just yet, book a cabin at Costanoa for the night (one of our customers told me about this magical place!), and spend the following day exploring nearby tide pools.
The Russian River
For a woodsy getaway, pack up the cooler with a picnic (and plenty of cold beer) and head North to the Russian River. Check out Monte Rio or Johnson beach, rent a canoe or kayak, or bring an inner tube and simply meander down the river.
If a day of pampering is more your speed, Indian Springs in Napa is the ultimate spa experience. Any treatment grants you a day’s access to the historic Olympic-sized mineral pool, where you can stretch out on a comfy chaise lounge, sip some local wine or bubbly, and float in the geyser’s healing waters.
The unusual rainbow sand at Rodeo Beach, comprised of bright red, green and orange pebbles, sets it apart from every other shore in California. Just across the Golden Gate Bridge in the Marin Headlands, Rodeo is a spot I rediscovered a few years ago. Its vicinity makes it the perfect impromptu destination, and it’s dog-friendly, too! Be warned, however: it can get foggy out there, so bring layers!
Drive up the coast on Highway 1 and not only will you get some breathtaking views of the Pacific, you’ll eventually hit Tomales Bay, just North of Point Reyes. Reserve a picnic table by the water at the Tomales Bay Oyster Company, where you can buy fresh bags by the dozen, shuck them yourself, and either down them raw or barbecue them on your own private grill.